restaurateur Michael Vocarís namesake restaurant is a dream nine
years in the making. He purchased the Riverwest building and remodeled
it slowly, opening Cafe Vocar late last year. "I come from a
cooking family," Vocar says. "My mom, who was a chef, is a
huge influence on me, but she comes from a long line of culinary
people. The food I make is the food my mom used to make growing
He serves dishes
from central and eastern Europe, with a modern spin. The most popular
dish on the menu is the Hungarian goulash, made with local beef. Itís
spicy but not overly spicy. "Itís just flying off of the
plates," Vocar says.
dish is Reginaís lasagna. Regina, a chef who lives in the
neighborhood, brought her lasagna in when Vocar interviewed her.
"Itís just simply the best lasagna Iíve ever tasted,"
Vocar says, adding that he hired her on the spot. The lasagna is made
with her sauce, which she simmers for 24 hours.
filled with wild mushrooms and cheese are also noteworthy, as is the
creme brulee, which includes Nutella on the bottom.
is open Friday through Sunday, but by March Vocar expects to be open
Wednesday through Sunday. He has plans for free cooking lessons
Mondays and Tuesdays. "I designed the restaurant so that we could
offer cooking classes," he says. 932 E. Wright St., (414)
When husband and
wife Tyler and Megan Mason decided to open a restaurant, they settled
on the name Wayward Kitchen because of the actual dictionary meaning
of the word "wayward." "It means unruly, unpredictable,
ungovernable," Megan Mason says. "When Tyler talked about
change ó because of seasonality or responding to trends on the menu
ó we didnít want to have to justify it. We decided that if we
wanted to bring in a new flavor, our guests would understand from the
unpredictably delightful results are what you can expect at this new
Walkerís Point eatery. Tyler Mason, who previously helmed the
kitchen at the Milwaukee Ale House, makes his own kimchee, which goes
perfectly with chorizo rice or braised spare ribs.
inventiveness doesnít stop at entrees. One of the best things on the
menu is arancini. Traditionally, arancini are savory rice balls,
coated with bread crumbs and filled with bits of meat. Mason put his
on the dessert menu, making a coconut rice pudding filled with Nutella,
then finishing it with cinnamon sugar and homemade orange marmalade.
The drinks have
a Wisconsin focus; youíll find things like a cranberry margarita or
a gin fizz made with Rehorst gin and homemade hibiscus tea. The
restaurant recently began serving lunch, and a late Sunday brunch
likely will be added soon. 1407 S. 1st St., (414) 763-1191,
the Anaba Tea Room were sad to learn it was closing at the end of last
year. But chef Gregg DesRosier is opening a new restaurant in the same
Shorewood location beneath the Garden Room. TOCHI, a ramen noodle
restaurant, will highlight his adventurous side. If you ever went to
Anaba for dinner, youíve had a sample of the amazing Asian-fusion
cuisine DesRosier specializes in. DesRosier, who has visited tea farms
and experienced cuisine throughout China, and his team spent a year
developing the concept of TOCHI.
was coming up on 10 years, and if youíre going to make a change,
thatís the time youíre going to reinvent yourself," DesRosier
TOCHI, he says,
is all about having fun with Japanese ramen noodles. Thereís a
classical ramen dish, a spicy miso ramen with a pork-based broth and a
miso deviled egg dropped in it, a brothless ramen made with grass-fed
Wisconsin beef, a shoyu broth on the bottom, then shitakes,
slow-poached egg and smoked bone marrow butter on top.
Thereís even a
ramen thatís similar to a Japanese carbonara. A Wisconsin ramen is
made with brats, caramelized pickle relishes and dehydrated sauerkraut
with a mizo mustard broth.
there are also a few Chinese rice porridges or congees as entrees.
DesRosier is working on a mason-jar salad, and for appetizers heís
got edamame hummus, Japanese cucumbers, blistered shoshito peppers and
both vegetarian and pork steamed buns.
Anaba, will have an extensive selection of teas, but the wine, beer
and sake offerings have expanded, as has the cocktail list. TOCHI
serves lunch and dinner. "Thereís a huge cult following for
ramen so we expect weíll be a destination restaurant just like Anaba
was," DesRosier says. 2107 E. Capitol Drive, (414) 963-9510,